Recycling / Upcycling / Selling and Buying Furniture

Earth Day 2021
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What do you do with old or unwanted furniture when it’s no longer serving your needs?

Unfortunately, the EPA estimates that 80% of furniture and furnishings end up in a landfill (2018 data). In 2018, 9,680 tons of furniture ended up in landfills while only 40 tons were recycled. That’s a lot of furniture!

Fortunately, there are now a lot of different ways to recycle, upcycle, and get rid of your no longer needed furniture.

Personally, I am an advocate for giving new life to furniture that someone else is no longer in need of. I have done my fair share of buying second-hand furniture, accepting hand-me-downs, and selling or giving away stuff that we no longer need.  Sometimes it almost feels like a challenge. When you want a specific piece of furniture, for a specific place in your house being able to find it on Marketplace or at a garage sale feels like a win.

What are you supposed to do when you have furniture that you no longer need? Well, here are a few options:

Upcycle

Upcycling is the ultimate project for any person who is into DIY. You can take on a project and give new life to a piece of furniture in order to make it serve you in a new capacity. One example that I can think of right here in my house is an old chest that I have had for years. I had been thinking of getting rid of it, but now I have discovered that with a little ingenuity and a little elbow grease it will make a great place for filing.

Freecycle

This may be one of my favorite things that I have recently learned about. There is a network committed to helping us get rid of, or find new items. Freecycle.org is a network of more than 5,000 groups around the globe who are committed to keeping furnishings and other items out of landfills by keeping them in the hands of people who need or want them. They are a nonprofit movement of people committed to getting free stuff or giving free stuff to others. You can check out their site here.

Sell

If you have something that you want to get rid of and are looking to make a little extra money, places like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace are great places to start. It’s also a great place to look if you are in need of something yourself. People are constantly remodeling, moving, or redecorating so there is a never-ending supply of what you can find.

If you have something to sell, a good way to figure out the value is to search for similar items that have already sold and you can see what they have sold for. 

This year as we celebrate Earth Day, take a minute and think about what you are going to do with the next big item that you are going to replace or don’t need anymore. Think about how you can dispose of the item in a way that is good for you, good for someone else, and may also be good for the environment.

If you would like more information about furniture recycling you can contact your local municipality or your trash/recycling company.

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